Baby Name Trends Come And Go, Can Math Explain The Reason Why?
A baby name can be the biggest thing one year, then the next year it doesn't it falls off the map, could math be the answer why?
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University used a mathematical equation to figure out why baby names gain and lose popularity over time.
When naming my son, I tried to find names kids couldn't make fun of while at the same time finding a name that wasn't as common. Let's say, I did a lot of rhyming to finally settle on a name.
WOOD reported the associate professor in CMUs Social and Decision Sciences Department Russell Golman said, "I am curious about everything, but I am clueless about popular social trends. My interest was sparked by thinkers in the field of complex systems who study non-equilibrium dynamics in the economy and society."
The math has shown that there is a continuous "tug-of-war" that parents go through trying to find a name for their child that stands out but at the same time finding a name that will allow the child to fit in.
Who knew that economic and game theory studies could lead to a math equation that explains why baby names get popular and then become unpopular over time?
That math used in the study of baby names was designed to explain two conflicting motives, wanting to fit in and wanting to stand out at the same time. These are two different directions but since a parent wants both, this is how to find the equilibrium between the two.
There were social factors that also went into the equation like your community, neighbors, co-workers, clubs, and other social groups. Just note that social networks and social media are two different things.
How parents live socially plays a big part in the naming of their children. The study used data from the past 100 years to help in the equation and discovered the results were pretty typical each year.
Basically, the study showed was parents like popular names and then usually pick something similar giving the child a name that is socially acceptable but also stands out at the same time.
For example, a name like Larry becomes less popular and a name like Liam becomes more popular. Then over time the name Liam will shift to something more popular and so on.